We recently received another invitation from Ford Motor Company to test out a 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Super Crew Cab 4×4. This truck was equipped with the FX4 package which includes FX4 Off-Road box decals, Hill Descent Control, off-road-tuned shock absorbers, floor liners, and skid plates for the fuel tank, transfer case, and front differential. The Ford F-150 SuperCrew was wrapped in Lucid Red Pearl (paint code D4) and came loaded with options.
To be the best-selling full-size pickup for forty-four consecutive years, you certainly have to be doing something right. Not willing to rest on those laurels, Ford continually steps up its truck game to keep other manufacturers on their toes.
F-150 Hybrid 4X4 Engine and Drivetrain
This new F-150 is equipped with their new Powerboost full hybrid V6 powertrain. You might be thinking that a hybrid powertrain means sacrificing power for economy, but you would be wrong. The 3.5-liter all-aluminum 60-degree V6 engine features twin turbochargers with intercoolers. It makes 430 horsepower at 6,000 revs and grinds out 570 lb-ft of torque.
The engine is hooked to a ten-speed modular hybrid transmission. It is all part of a hybrid platform that is better explained with this graphic supplied by Ford.
Allow me to sum up the information you see above. This truck is fast!
F-150 Hybrid 4X4 Fuel Economy
According to the numbers provided by Ford, the truck we were issued is capable of a combined average of 24 miles per gallon. Getting those numbers in a full-size, four-wheel-drive pickup with twin turbos seems hard to believe, right? What we learned, like with most vehicles, to achieve the window sticker’s estimated fuel economy you have to keep the throttle smooth and consistent instead of burying your foot down on the gas.
Since we had the truck for more than a few days, it was decided to use the vehicle while covering the 2022 Gambler 500 in Central Oregon. There would be no shortage of off-roading opportunities, and the 146-mile commute to Redmond, Oregon would give us highway mileage data.
Our commute was scenic, to say the least! Highlights include a climb over Mount Hood, navigating through an atmospheric river of rain, and dodging a couple of deer. Overall we averaged 23.3 miles per gallon, and of those miles traveled, 21.6 were under electric power with the gas engine off.
Over the weekend, we traveled 455 miles. This included city, highway, interstate, and roughly 80 off-road miles. Of those 455 miles, 104 were under electric motor power. The fuel average had dipped to 20.8 combined for everything, but considering the off-road mileage, that is very good. Just on the return trip we averaged 23.8 miles to the gallon.
F-150 Hybrid 4X4: Ford’s In-House Torture Testing
F-150 Hybrid 4X4 Off-Road
Even with the featured FX4 package, I initially had low expectations for this truck’s off-road performance. We thought lugging a big lithium-ion battery and electric motors was going to hurt. Admittedly, we also had no idea of the severity of the trails we would wind up traversing. And then there were the wet weather implications. It was hoped that the rain would stay to the north. However, the rain had its own ideas.
The F-150 was shod with 275/65R18 Goodyear Wrangler Territory AT tires. Good on the highway, but in super heavy rain there was some unwanted hydroplaning. It should be pointed out this was unusually heavy rain even for the Pacific Northwest.
On a simple gravel forestry road, the tires held the surface confidently. With the traction control turned off (which turns on the fun) sliding the truck was no problem with predictable return to control. When the going got rougher, the extra wheelbase of the Super Cab, along with the tuned shocks, smoothed out the ride.
Thank Goodness For Hill Descent Control
At one point, we were climbing a 13-percent grade that had a loose shale surface. Tire slip was nearly imperceptible using four-wheel high. Coming down grades like this on loose surfaces the downhill function performed a valuable benefit, saving the brakes from overheating.
On day two, with rain introduced into the equation, the roads became a slippery and rocky quagmire. Every pothole was a mystery as water hid the true depth. It was slower going than day one with the agenda putting us on even narrower trails. In the end, the Ford handled every darn thing I threw at it, and that was a lot. The FX4 skid plates got a workout on that day, but they held in place, and more importantly, protected the critical components behind the undercarriage armor.
Other Neat Stuff
After driving this new F-150 for a couple of days, I can believe why Ford has the best-selling truck in America in the last four decades. This becomes even more apparent when looking at the vehicle layout and integrated utility features.
Today’s world demands charging electronics on the go. Up front, there were two combined USB and USB-C ports, as well as a 12-volt inverter plug. The rear saw another USB combination and 12-volt plug. The bed had a whopping four 12-volt plugs and one 240-volt plug. Boosting even more usefulness, a 7.2-kilowatt Pro Power Onboard™ feature makes your hybrid into a generator for tools and electronics.
My favorite standouts were the new interior work surface which made it easier to use a laptop from both the driver and passenger seat. The truck bed is now lit with LED lighting for the first time. And an optional power tailgate upgrade makes it extra nice when struggling with an armload of gear. For more creature comforts, a new Bang & Olufsen radio performed awesomely on the highway with eight speakers and a subwoofer.
Additionally, the new design has made this the most aerodynamic pickup truck Ford has ever produced. While not perceptible in normal driving it contributes to the mileage numbers.
F-150 Hybrid 4X4 Final Thoughts And Conclusions
We found this to be a tremendously capable truck both on and off the road. Ford has checked all the boxes to make this a desirable modern truck. In this time of sky-high gasoline prices, the thought of a hybrid pickup is even more appealing. When you consider the fuel economy and the availability of over 400 horsepower, it makes a lot of sense.
As equipped, this truck in 2022 new, would run about $60,600. Considering fuel savings and its capabilities in today’s market, that is a reasonable price point. Our truck was a 2021 (identical to 2022) and can be found around the internet for about $48,000.